Equal opportunities information

This page explains what we are doing to meet our duty to treat our staff and communities equally.

All of us could, at some point in our lives, be vulnerable to discrimination through having a 'protected characteristic'. By law these protected characteristics are defined as age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

We have to comply with the general equality duty and:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation (this also covers marriage and civil partnerships);
  • promote equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and
  • encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

We have to set and publish equality objectives at least every four years. These objectives must help us to meet our general equality duty. If we identify an opportunity to add extra objectives we will do so.

Our equality objectives 2016 to 2020

  • Ensure that people can maintain access to essential services; 
  • Working with customers, ensure that the council's digital by default strategy is inclusive of the widest range of customers as possible, taking into account different access requirements and the needs of those who experience digital exclusion;
  • Improve the wellbeing and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans children and young people;
  • Improve rates of progress for vulnerable groups of children and young people (as reflected in our children and young people's plan - Young and Yorkshire;
  • Improve access to employment opportunities for young people not in education, employment and training and those with a disability;
  • Take opportunities, where it is proportionate to do so, to improve accessibility of public transport;
  • Take opportunities, where it is proportionate to do so, to improve physical accessibility around towns; and
  • Foster good relations between our staff who share a protected characteristic and our staff who do not.

We will report on our progress every year.

For more information about our previous equality objectives, see our  progress towards our equality objectives for the period to May 2016 (pdf / 498 KB).

Understanding our communities

To meet our responsibilities we need to understand more about our employees and our communities. We have produced a  North Yorkshire equality profile (pdf / 148 KB) which gives a high level picture of our population, broken down by protected characteristics. We have also gathered information about our employees. See our  equalities monitoring report 2013-15 (pdf / 658 KB) as an example of the employee information we gather.

Our Data North Yorkshire site provides access to statistics for North Yorkshire. You can access this system free of charge.

We do detailed research to help us plan the right services for our communities. An example of this is the joint strategic needs assessment which we do with partners. This work helps us identify the health and wellbeing needs of people in North Yorkshire so that we can plan to address these needs.

Planning our services

We plan services to make sure they meet the needs of people with protected characteristics effectively, within the money available.

The strategies, plans and policies section of our website sets out the key plans for the council's work. They all help us meet the needs of our communities. Particularly important for showing how we support vulnerable people are:

  • The joint health and wellbeing strategy;
  • The children and young people's plan;
  • Adult social care - local account; and
  • North Yorkshire's dignity in care charter.

We use equality impact assessments to try to make sure we deliver services fairly. These assessments help us consider the needs different people have and make sure that we can meet these needs. The assessments will often include the views of people who use the service. We also consult people about what we are doing.

Our councillors represent the interests of all the communities in their area. In addition, we use overview and scrutiny committees to examine the services we provide to vulnerable groups.

Our services are also subject to external inspections. For example, the Care Quality Commission inspects residential care and home care and OFSTED inspects the children's services which the council provides.